Now you know there is nothing more bizarre than a Mike Tyson fight in Las Vegas. Unless it's the week leading up to a Mike Tyson fight in Las Vegas. Or the events that follow one. Let's get ready to nibble!
100 HOURS TO THE FIGHT
On the rack at Bernini are 21 bright yellow Italian blazers that you would not wear to a luau, even drunk. Each one costs $1,495. Good luck selling them, pal. "These?" says the manager. "Oh, these will all sell by Saturday."
92 HOURS TO THE FIGHT
From all over—from the Learjets and the G-4s and the Dubai-based 737s that triple-park at the private airfield near the Strip; from the limos with the hot tubs in the back; from the Suburbans with dark-tinted windows and the Lexi with the gold trim—the incredible collection of people and finery known as a heavyweight title light crowd starts to pour into town: rap stars and wannabe rappers: (rips and Bloods; pickpockets and deep pockets; Louis Farrakhan's Muslims and Evander Holyfield's Holy Rollers; CEOs and CFOs; pimps and whores and others who just want to dress like them (men in bright orange zoot suits with bright green fedoras and matching Italian boots; women in 12-inch stainless-steel heels with Cleopatra thigh straps and with dresses made up of $3.99 worth of materials from Ace Hardware); squadrons of men in sunglasses and black Armani suits with Nokias protecting one man in sagging blue jeans and a $19 plaid flannel shirt. It's outrageous and scary and splendid all at once. Fear and clothing in Las Vegas.
81 HOURS TO THE FIGHT
In one of the oddest prefight press conferences in Don King's long history of odd prefight press conferences, the Tyson and Holyfield camps are dignified and gentlemanly. It's the women on the undercard who are animals.
The ugliness rises between Christy Martin and her opponent. Andrea DeShong. Ms. Martin has been saying that Ms. DeShong is stalking her, trying to climb into her car and saying vile things about her manner of dress. Ms. DeShong has said that Ms. Martin is wrecking women's boxing. Now they are at the press conference podium. Ms. DeShong leads with a jab about Ms. Martin's low-income roots. Ms. Martin counterpunches with a snipe about Ms. DeShong's apparent failure to attend a decent finishing school.
"My mom taught me [the difference] between ass and class," Ms. Martin says. "And your mom forgot to teach you that."
After which King strides to the microphone with a huge grin and says, "Well, hell hath no fury that equated to a woman who has gotten angered."
Ain't it the truth?
77 HOURS TO THE FIGHT
We ask Bob, our cabbie, if he'll get a lot of business on fight night. "No way," he says. "I don't go near the place [the MOM Grand, site of the fight]. Anybody wants to go there, I take them within a hundred yards and drop them off. They killed a guy once, don't forget that. Nosir."